This photo of a preemie breastfeeding shouldn't even exist. According to the baby's mother, this simple act was thought to be impossible. Perhaps that's why the image – of little Dahlia, at just 4 weeks old after being born at 28 weeks gestation – is going viral. She's defied every odd.
"This was me and my girl today – our first time as well!" wrote mom Keri Barcellos-Putt in a Facebook post on the popular Breastfeeding Mama Talk group page.
In the moving post, she recounted what had happened up until now:
Water broke at 21 weeks and the only option doctors gave me was termination of the pregnancy. 2 weeks of home bed rest and 5 weeks of hospital bed rest later, she was born via emergency c-section due to placental abruption. Doctors still thought she wouldn't survive because she had no water for her lungs to develop.
Yet, despite the dim prognosis, "she's here and so healthy," Keri wrote. In fact, this photo shows that her daughter began breastfeeding at 32 weeks gestation, and she was told such a feat wouldn't be possible until 34 to 36 weeks.
Keri concluded: "She's proving everyone wrong!"
Not only that, however, this preemie is proving just how important it is to share such stories. The Facebook post has touched thousands of people, garnering 38,000 reactions and nearly 2,000 comments, many from other women who are all too familiar with the struggles, fears, and heartbreak that come with giving birth to a premature baby.
Perhaps because this photo beat all odds, the resounding message was clear. As one commentor put it: "You should be so so proud of yourself, momma. Way to go, what a team the two of you are!"